Building a Heart Healthy Lifestyle
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle involves several components – from giving up smoking to maintaining a healthy weight. One often-overlooked habit is consistently managing stress. Stress can often lead to poor behaviors that undermine heart health. For example, many of us turn to unhealthy food, skip workouts, or consume excessive alcohol when we’re under stress.
We’re highlighting three habits that will help build good heart health and help manage stressful events as they arise throughout the day. Incorporate them into your daily routine – and rely on them anytime you feel the stress creeping up in your everyday life:
- Release it. Find an outlet where you can express what you’re feeling or thinking. A therapist or a good friend can be an excellent sounding board, or you may prefer to write down your thoughts in a journal. Verbalizing our fears and stressors removes a lot of the power they hold over us. Instead of bottling up your feelings, choose an effective way to get those thoughts out of your head regularly.
- Deep breathing. Calmly breathing is one of the most impactful methods for calming the nervous system and restoring equilibrium within the body. Deep breathing is an effective way to quickly lower heart rate and blood pressure. Adopting a regular meditation or breathwork practice is a great way to help your body regularly tap into a relaxed state. Even a five or 10-minute routine in the morning can have a positive impact on your whole day.
- Practice moderation. Temperance helps us avoid pendulum-swinging behavior while establishing sustainable habits that support our long-term health goals. Avoid extremes such as pulling all-nighters at work, binge drinking, or crash dieting followed by excessive eating. While we live in a society where “going big” is often revered, going “medium” will keep you healthy.